Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance 2021 – Major Cars Shows are Back!
The Amelia, as the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is affectionately known, brought 300 historic motor cars and race cars to the ocean-resort community outside of Jacksonville, FL. It wasn’t unusual to see anything from a Duesenberg to a Ferrari to a rare microcar cruising along the Spanish moss-draped roads of the island.
Leading up to the Concours on Sunday, there were also several classic car events, including auctions, hangar parties, car club gatherings, and seminars conducted by prominent figures in the world of motorsports. This multi-day event had been rescheduled from earlier in the year because of the uncertainty of COVID-19. The decision to delay the Concours turned out to be a good one because the new date in May resulted in a more open show. With the mask mandates and most social restrictions lifted, there was a much more relaxed atmosphere. It was great to see everyone’s smiling face, as they celebrated some of the most historically significant vehicles in the world. When the champagne flowed following the announcement of the Best of Shows – Concours d’Elegance and Concours de Sport – we had a feeling that it wasn’t only a celebration of the winners but also a celebration of our much-needed return to normalcy.
Lyn St. James – 2021 Concours Honoree
Historic race cars and the people who drive them have always received special attention at the Amelia Island Concours, and it has become a tradition to recognize one of these legendary racers. This year’s Honoree was Lyn St. James, a race car driver, writer, broadcaster, and motivational speaker. Her two-plus decades of competitive driving included racing at tracks around the world, including Indy, Sebring, Daytona, Nürburgring, and Le Mans. Along the way, she notched up victories, set records, and won awards. In recognition of her renowned driving career, many of the cars she piloted through the years were on display at the Concours.
Best of Show Winners
Concours d’Elegance: 1926 Hispano-Suiza H6BThe Best in Show Concours d’Elegance Trophy was awarded to a 1926 Hispano-Suiza H6B Cabriolet, owned by Jill and Charles Mitchell of Stuart, Florida. Although not commonly recognized in the classic car hobby today, the marque was once regarded as the most luxurious car brand in the world, owned by kings and other heads of state. Between 1919 and 1933 ~2,300 Hispano-Suizas were built, the later models featuring an aluminum, overhead camshaft, 403 cubic inches straight six-cylinder engine, and other leading technology of the day. This Hispano-Suiza H6B was given Cabriolet Le Dandy coachwork at the Henri Chapron Works in 1931.
Concours de Sport: 1974 Shadow
James Bartel of Key West, Florida took home the Best in Show Concours de Sport Trophy for his 1974 Shadow DN4. This championship-winning Shadow racer from 1974 was driven by Jackie Oliver and won four out of five races from the final shortened season of the original Can-Am. It would have scored a clean sweep of the series, but it suffered an engine failure in the final race, only four laps from the end. In more recent years, it has participated in several historic races, finishing first in each of these events. Newly restored following an incident at the 2020 Road America historic races, this is the first time it has been shown since its latest restoration. The Shadow racing team was founded by Don Nichols in 1968.
Other Award Winners
This year, RM Sotheby’s and Bonhams held auctions in the days leading up to the Sunday’s Concours. Many of the vehicles offered at these high-end sales have either already participated in a Concours or could be an entrant sometime in the near future. RM Sotheby’s had this year’s top sale, a 1929 Duesenberg Model J ‘Disappearing Top’ Torpedo, which sold for $5,725,000. Bonhams top sale was for a 1934 Mercedes-Benz 540K, bring in $4,900,000. For more on these auctions, click here.
More Highlights of The 2021 Amelia Island Concours
- Cars and People, including the annual Fashion Show with cars from different decades showing the evolution of car design and ladies’ fashion
- A gathering of Ferrari 275GTB, some of the most valuable cars in the world
- A gathering of Porsche 935s, the ultimate Porsche race cars
- A gathering of Hispano-Suizas, grand motor cars of the early 30s
- Cars of the ‘70s – Celebrating 50 years anniversary
- “Wild and Wonderful”– Cars so unusual they make you smile